Big Line Updated

The Big Line has been updated now that Democrat Andrew Romanoff’s fundraising numbers for Q1 have been reported.

The biggest changes are on The Line are for Senate, Attorney General and CD-4…


This race has really come down to three people now: Sen. Michael Bennet for the Democrats and Jane Norton and Ken Buck on the Republican side.

Bennet is raising as much money, if not more, as anyone else in the country and has already put four ads up on television. Democrat Andrew Romanoff had a weak Q1 in fundraising, but more importantly, he only added about $23,000 to his total warchest after spending most of the $385,000 he raised.

Romanoff is just out of time now. He’s got $500k in the bank, but most of that will be spent on general campaign operations in the next 3-4 months. That means that he needs to raise at least a million dollars in the next three months to be able to afford a strong TV presence opposite Bennet. Even the staunchest Romanoff supporter can’t be optimistic about the chances of that happening.

As for the Republicans, Norton is the only one of the three candidates who is raising real money. Buck is getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside interest group money running ads on his behalf, so that has to be factored into his total ability to raise his profile. Tom Wiens, meanwhile, hasn’t been able to raise much money from people not named Tom Wiens, and he’s going to have to make a decision in the next month or two about what to do with the $500k he has “loaned” to his campaign; does he stay in the race and spend that cash, or pull out and refund his loan to himself?


A few weeks ago incumbent Republican John Suthers looked like a lock for re-election. But then he went and got involved in the health care reform lawsuit, and as a result he now has a serious Democratic challenger in Boulder County D.A. Stan Garnett. Suthers is as dull a politician as you will find, and Garnett has the ability to raise a lot of money in a very short time. At the very least, this race is now a tossup.


Republican Cory Gardner had a good Q1 in fundraising, and the rest of the GOP field seems to have disintegrated. Gardner surely can’t wait for the legislative session to end so that he can stop having to take so many absences to head off to fundraise elsewhere. Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey had another strong fundraising quarter and continues to do just about everything right. This race is going to get tighter, but we still give Markey the edge.

106 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. redstateblues says:

    You guys are full of ________(noun)! Obviously ____________ (name of candidate) should have much ___________ (adj) odds than ____________ (name of candidate’s opponent).

    Pols is so ________ (adverb) that they can’t even get a simple thing like ________ (name of elected office) right when it’s so ________ (verb ending in “ing”) obvious!

  2. caroman says:

    It’s all downhill from here for the Romanoff campaign.  Their only hope was to parlay the caucus win into big donations.  That didn’t happen.  (They needed to have a really big caucus victory to create a game changer and they weren’t close.)

    Soon, Michael Bennet will vote along with the Dems for financial reform.  That will remove yet another (final?) argument why anyone would vote against Bennet and for Romanoff.

    I don’t expect Romanoff to quit — he’s inhaled too much fairy dust. (that’s my 4/20 homage)  Instead, Bennet will continue to introduce himself to Colorado voters via commercials and campaign organizing.  Romanoff will be ignored and forgotten. Sad, for some, but true.

    • Ralphie says:

      (that’s the new name for it)

      he only did so because Romanoff entered the race and made him do it.

      By the way, I still think Andrew gets a nice bump from the State Assembly.

      Then it’s downhill…

      • Advocate says:

        AR is the little angel sitting on Senator Bennet’s shoulder, telling him to do the right thing…~S~ I think I trust Senator Bennet to stand or fall on his own merits, and not relying on AR’s “guidance”.  

        • AlanR says:

          It is not a little angel on Bennet’s shoulder advising him.   It is his pollsters telling him what he needs to do to hold the Democratic Base in a primary campaign.   The problem is the same pollsters will be giving opposite advice if he wins the primary and election.

          • Advocate says:

            the past tendency by most Western Dems to run on liberal and progressive principles, and then govern as if the base doesn’t matter until the next election? That advice? ;*)

            The Western Dems, in general, are very fortunate that virtually all of the Western Republicans are reactionary, feckless neanderthals. It makes it very easy for them to point to say…Butch Otter..and say.” Is that what you want in office”? Of course we don’t, so we vote, and then spend the next term trying to get them to stay true to the platform and principles they ran on. Hate to be so skeptical, but I haven’t seen the model change in years. I don’t think there will ever be a viable third party governing option, especially with the corporate money being virtually unlimited these days thanks to the activist Republicans on the SCOTUS, but I keep wishing there was something to keep the Dems honest at election time.  

      • caroman says:

        Congrats to the Romanoff campaign for having such an important impact on Senator Bennet’s votes.  Your contribution has been invaluable.

        You may now stand down and quit this primary with the knowledge that your efforts were not in vain.

        Please join the Bennet campaign as we work to preserve this Dem seat.

    • wade norris says:

      argument a little too far for a primary contest – money will definitely matter in the general election, but it is not as important for the ads in the primary.

      (As for the prognostications of 22-1 for Romanoff, see their previous nuggets of wisdom)

      Lamm the New Favorite in CD-7 Primary

      You may have noticed that we moved Democrat Peggy Lamm above Ed Perlmutter on the CD-7 Line …

      …We hear that not only is Lamm polling ahead of Perlmutter, but she’s been telling supporters that?- are you ready for this? – Herb Rubenstein is polling?in second place.?Of course, there’s still a long way to go in this race, but if Perlmutter is really polling in third place, he’s in trouble.

      sage prediction…

      (hattip to you know who)

      • MADCO says:

        went all the way back several years to find a predictoin that missed?

        Yeah- TBL is not that big a deal. Right?

      • Ralphie says:

        If you can’t raise enough money to put up TV in a primary, where does that leave you in a General?

        This is a much bigger problem for Romanoff than just the primary.  And if you think otherwise, you’re just deluding yourself.

        I’m going to vote for whoever wins the primary.  But I hope that’s someone with enough money to win a General.

      • bluemountains says:

        4-1 in fundraising and 7-1 in CoH is a huge deal in a US Senate race.

        What your comment truly says is,” I don’t want money to matter as much as it does in this race”.

        • Ray Springfield says:

          While everyone knows that I back Michael Bennet, and do so mainly because I can trust him to to tell the truth, even if  it hurts.

          The truth about the primary will be if the air war works. In military terms air superiority is a must for victory. A solid ground presence is needed to beat back an insurgency.

          It’s possible that both Buck and Romanoff could win the primaries. In that scenario, Buck would have a solid  Republican ground base, and his air war would be supplied from 527’s.

          M argument is tht Romanoff is competitive for the primary. I fail to see how he can win the general election.

          I believe that Sen Bennet can win both.

          The primary I predict will be very close.  

  3. But otherwise, I’d say “good job”.  Norton and Buck would rate higher on the chart if anyone had a good idea of how the primary election was going to go for them.  Bennet (or, on an off chance Romanoff) are by no means locks for the title of Junior Senator from Colorado, it’s just the odds of getting past the primary that make the Republican candidates look weak by comparison.

    • Half Glass Full says:

      1. Tea Partiers don’t like incumbents. “Vote them all out!”

      2. Attorney General is a nice, down-ticket non-ideological position. If Tea Partiers want to make a show about being egalitarian, they can vote for those GOP tools Norton and McInnis, but then make themselves feel better by voting for someone like Garnett.

      Of course, the above is probably giving Tea Partiers way too much influence.

  4. Half Glass Full says:

    If I had better technical ability, I’d do one of those “Downfall” mosh-ups where they put new subtitles under Hitler ranting and raving. Example (Hitler finds out the iPod Touch has no camera):

    Romanoff advisor, pointing to map: “Following his ad in the town of Washington, Senator Bennet is now planning new campaign ads shot in Holyoke, Eads and Rocky Ford…”  

  5. Half Glass Full says:

    I love Hickenlooper and loathe McInnis, but this will be a GOP year I’m afraid, and 3-1 Hick versus 10-1 McInnis is just too wide a spread. I’d say more like 6-1 versus 10-1.  

  6. Voyageur says:

    I think Bennet will win the primary but am not yet ready to bet my farm on it.

  7. GOPwarrior says:

    Is running a smarter campaign than any of you realize.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      He is obviously the darling of the lunatic fringe so anything can happen in a primary. Winning the election will be tougher but Pols gave him an up arrow so Buck-Buck isn’t flying under the radar.

    • Ralphie says:

      between Buck and the people who are running his ads?

      If so, then Buck belongs before an Administrative Law Judge.

      • colawman says:

        Buck is making a game of it but more importantly and more telling is Jane Norton is not. Engaging voters is her weak suit. Knowing this her campaign has her withdraw from the assembly to “engage the voters”!  If she does not fire her entire staff and seek a competent staff she will get trounced in the primary. Consider this. She spent $1.3 million so far to lose the precinct’s straw poll, to withdraw from the assembly when the polls reflected she would likely not make the ballot, she lost the endorsement of DeMint inspite of Charlie Black’s best efforts.  This is an anemic campaign. Buck’s campaign is energized and he has put together a strong organization of committed volunteers. I predicted in February DeMint would follow Red State endorsement which would lead to Norton’s demise.  The wheels are coming off.  Full disclosure I am a Ken Buck unpaid volunteer.

  8. Aggie says:

    I think the AG odds are a little optimistic to say the least.  It will be a tough race, but to call it a tossup at this point is premature.

  9. cmoc says:

    6-1 odds for the favorite in a 5-candidate race?  Maybe Pols will open a casino so we can bet on all 5 candidates and make money no matter who wins.

  10. Born To Run says:

    All four of the Bennet ads are terrible. The Bennet campaign is blowing through cash quickly and a large amount of his donations can only be used in the general election.  By not knocking Romanoff out Bennet is facing a primary that will likely go down to the wire. Bennet is certainly the favorite but not an overwhelming one. The Bennet Campaign has been noticeably weak in getting whatever their message is across.  For all of his problems Romanoff still has a chance to win.

  11. Raphael says:

    instead of having asterisks after the names of candidates that are “announced or believed to be a lock to run” why not have the asterisks for people who a rumored and no mark next to locks and announced candidate? Kind of irrelevant at this point, but I think it would make the Line more aesthetically pleasing with fewer characters.

    Just a thought to consider.

  12. GottaFindaBetterUserName says:

    Look, I’m all for people using their position for political power getting pounded by political pundits for purposefully pontificating pretentious positions but I have to call BS!

    If you’re stating a sitting AG is now in a toss-up with a challenger that doesn’t have name id in a “republican year” (still to be seen of course) that’s just bs.

    Give Suthers 4-1 and Garnett 5-1 if you must, but toss-up?

    Sweetie, your sweats are leaking is all I gotta say.

  13. AlanR says:

    Two details that are still hidden are 1) how much of Bennet’s 3.5 million cash on hand is restricted to General Election and not available to him for primary spending.

    I’m guessing it will be at least 1.0 million which if so is signficant.

    2) how much if any of Bennet’s 1.4 million in first quarter spending went for per paying for future ads.   I’m guessing none.

    Bennet is likely to keep burning money at least at the same rate he’s spent so far, and if so he’ll need to raise another 1.5 million next quarter just to stay even.   That will not be an overwhelming amount of TV time.   Money will be harder for him to raise since he’s presumably already harvested all of the easy money.

    Romanoff needs to be on TV for the last month but he doesn’t need to buy as much as Bennet since he has a real base and grass roots volunteers.  

    This will not be Mike Miles Coming out of the State Assembly in part because Michael Bennet is not Ken Salazar.   Reasonable people may think that Romanoff will be a stronger general election candidate just because he is not as attached to the big eastern banking interests.

    • RedGreen says:

      A candidate doesn’t have to wait until Aug 11 to spend “general” money. He could spend everything in April and not a dime until the November election if he wanted (so long as he won the primary – if not, he’d have to give back the general money).

      Keep in mind too, if Romanoff has raised any money designated for the general election (doubtful it’s much), he really needs to be careful about spending that over the summer, because if he loses the primary, he has to refund it to donors.

    • gertie97 says:

      be a stronger general election candidate when he hasn’t shown the ability to raise real money?

      A committed base is not enough to win independents. For that, you need TV and lots of it.

      With his “holier-than-thou” attitude toward fundraising, he won’t have the money to compete against Norton or Buck. You can bet the farm that the GOP will make damn sure the Republican candidate is well-funded.

      Besides, Andrew still hasn’t given us a real reason to fire Bennet and hire him.

      • AlanR says:

        quite simply,  Michael Bennet is the wrong type of candidate to run in 2010 at the time of a populist anger against the greedy big money interests that are corrupting our democracy.   It is not negative campaigning to acknowledge the fact that Bennet grew up in Washington DC among those same big money interests who are now funding his campaign.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          of slimy statements on his behalf?  You need to step back and lay off the mud slinging dude.

          As far as candidates for 2010, it is Romanoff who is out of step with the rhythms of this election.  This is a continuity election for Dems.  It is NOT a change election.  The Dems. want to continue to set the agenda and deliver on the legislation needed to solve our most pressing problems.

          Romanoff would have maybe been a viable candidate if Health Insurance Reform had failed but it didn’t and Dems. are excited about that success. Bennet was on the Senate floor when this historic legislation was debated and he gained valuable experience being involved.  With Finance Reform on deck this week, the Obama administration has maneuvered the clueless Republicans into a corner where they either side with the bankers and take on the ire of the voters or not filibuster and let Obama and the Dems. take credit for putting the regulatory leash back on the banks.

          Your argument that Bennet is evil because he grew up on the east coast is almost as repulsive as Bennet supporters questioning Romanoff’s marriage status.  Don’t go there Alan.  Find something nice to say about your candidate instead of always trying to play the money card against Bennet.  Stop it.  Find a better way to advocate for your candidate.

          • AlanR says:

            I have never said or believed that Bennet is evil because he grew up in Washington DC among the most elite group of wealthy Democrats.   Actually I think he is a very decent person who is simply an example of the wrong kind of candidate for Democrats to run in 2010.

            In My Opinion there are going to be TWO keys to th4e midterm elections almost consistently across the country.   ONE is base turnout.   Which side will do a better job of turning out their base? TWO is populist anger.   Which side nominates a candidate who can appeal to the large and growing independent group who are being screwed by this economy and are enraged at the big money interests who are profiting.

            ESPECIALLY in Colorado where the Democrats do not have an inherent advantage (like they did in Massachusetts) we will lose with the wrong candidate.

            • AlanR says:

              I do not want to ignore your other comment/question.   I speak for myself and not the campaign or the candidate.   I would guess that Andrew would prefer that I not express my thoughts as to why I think Bennet would be a weaker candidate.   Because that’s who he is and how he is campaigning.    

              • Gilpin Guy says:

                I don’t agree with your analysis of this election cycle but that’s politics.

                I would also appreciate you focusing on how Romanoff can help create a better economy if you think that populist rage is the sentiment of the masses.  What can Romanoff do for the economy that Bennet can’t?  Let’s get back to the issues instead of the personalities.  How can Romanoff improve the economy other than he’s not Bennet?

            • Advocate says:

              a person from the Tea Party with the populist anger claim and the so called rising up of the base. Turns out the so called populist arising is very overstated by the conservative media in terms of percentage of potential voters. I suspect that by November, the populist flames being fanned by the conservative right pundits will have burnt to coals, though I think the message of hate and implicit racism will continue amongst those who drank the true believer Kool-Aid.

              I think the election will eventually hinge on substance, and the economy. Alot of the so called anger at DC and government is fueled by fear about jobs. If the economy looks like it is finally recovering from the deep trench the Bush folks put it in…history shows alot of the anger will go away, and people will start to be more positive again.  

            • BlueCat says:

              is all about Bennet (positives) while the Romanoff campaign strategy is also mainly about Bennet(negatives and it should have been me) shows which campaign is on firmer ground, AlanR, and it ain’t Andrew’s.  

              Thanks to the two game plans, it’s all about Bennet, whose campaign, unlike Romanoff’s, has no trouble promoting its candidate without bothering to mention the opponent or even to make veiled negative allusions to him. No wonder the smart money (and lots of it) is on Bennet.

              Romanoff diehards are living in a “let’s get all the kids together and put a big show on in the old barn” dream world.  

    • redstateblues says:

      Is how is Romanoff going to get on TV? You say Bennet’s campaign isn’t sustainable, but Romanoff burned way more as a percentage of total raised than Bennet.

      Romanoff needs to get on TV, just like every other candidate for statewide office. Maybe he doesn’t need to buy “as much”, but I don’t see how he could be enough TV with how much he has to make it worth the money. Remember, he still has to pay for the rest of the campaign too (staff, rent, literature, consultants, polling, etc.) Volunteers can’t do everything.

      Reasonable people may expect a candidate for an office like US Senate to be able to afford to operate a proper campaign.

      • RedGreen says:

        redstate, even you’ve got to admit it’s a stretch calling it “literature.” At best, it’s popular fiction or genre material, like mystery or romance.

      • Ralphie says:

        or get pulled over running 40 illegals through Silverthorne.

        But if it’s ads you’re talking about, 23K net increase in Cash On Hand isn’t going to do it for him.

      • AlanR says:

        Romanoff has to be on TV  in July.   What I’m not sure is how much TV money he will need. That’s why I’m curious as to exactly how much money Bennet really has to spend.   He (Bennet) is not a self funder who can just write his own checks.   I think if Romanoff has even 1/3 the tv money as Bennet he (Romanoff will win).  

        • redstateblues says:

          with the amount of airplay and saturation it would need to be effective, it will bankrupt him. Unless he raises three to four times what he raised in Q1. I don’t see that happening.

          How much does Bennet have to spend? $3.2 million. So yes, if Romanoff raises $1 million or more between April 1 and July 31, he will have a decent shot at Bennet in the primary. I just don’t see how that’s possible given the fact that the campaign has been telling us to wait until next quarter for the past two quarters.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Not very original mud slinging Alan but it is very disappointing that you feel compelled to go negative and nasty when your candidate is going to do so well at the State Assembly.  If he is doing so well then why do you feel compelled to throw mud like a run of the mill Republican?

      My take on it all along has been that Romanoff, in spite of his pledge to the Democrats when he announced to run a clean campaign, and his ardent admirers are going to think they need to go negative and in a very very nasty manner because they feel they must win.  This mind set if very much like Republicans who feel like they can bend the rules because they also must win.  You are doing the Republicans dirty work for them when you attack another Democrat with clumsy and childish caricatures.

  14. jfenter says:

    I have to admit I am not knowledgeable on how the money works but keep wondering:

    If, Romanoff wins the primary, won’t those who support Bennet also rally around Romanoff to get him elected rather than the GOP opponent?

  15. DavidThi808 says:

    Quoting from The Big Line:

    Andr Romanoff (22-1)

    Can’t raise money, and can’t even get out of a silly minor scandal without deep cuts

    Ryan Frazier (15-1)

    Has been strong fundraiser, but otherwise not much there

    So clearly money is key, unless it isn’t.

    • Frazier is above Romanoff, probably because of fundraising, but he’s not doing much to get in front of Perlmutter…  It’s still ‘Ryan who?’ for a lot of people.  Romanoff at least has that going for him: good starting name ID.

      • redstateblues says:

        The odds are fairly meaningless, but I think they’re isolated to each individual race. For instance, Stan Garnett is at 4:1, but I don’t think that Pols is saying that he’s more likely to get elected than Bennet.

        • And we’ve gone ’round in the past about how wildly non-statistical the numbers are, and what things throw the relative value of them out of whack.

          It is kind of nice to have consistency where possible, and I think they try when making the Big Line to do that to some extent.  If you do want to compare Frazier’s odds to Romanoff’s, you have lots of stuff to account for: Romanoff’s money issues, Frazier’s lack of ID, missteps by the campaigns, strength of any primary opponents, the relative strength of the opposing party’s position once you get past the primary…

          All in all, Romanoff is at 22-1, with formidable opposition in both the primary and general election races and his best assets being his name ID and charisma.  Frazier sits at 15-1 with decent money but little name recognition, Ed Perlmutter ahead of him, and a primary challenge from the right from Sias.

          Off-hand, I’d say the numbers are as close as any I’d come up with.

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